What We All Have in Common, colored pencil, 16 1/2 x 22 1/2
Linda Lucas Hardy
“We really are a strange section of the art world, us colored-pencil people,” admits Linda Lucas Hardy with a laugh. “And it is tedious, but we love it.” Hovering somewhere between photorealism and the old masters, Hardy’s colored-pencil paintings have all the drama, complexity, and sophistication of anything done in oil. Basically self-taught—although she took every art class she could near her hometown of Texarkana, TX, between 1984 and 1994, when the last of her seven kids started school—the 60-year-old Hardy found her belovedly tedious calling in a colored-pencil class back in 1990.
During a trip to Italy with her husband in 2000, she had an epiphany: If she wanted to achieve something artistically, she’d better do it right quick. Already known for her masterful still lifes, especially of fruit (“Fruit’s easy,” quips Hardy, “it doesn’t argue back or look at you weird”), Hardy wowed her ardent admirers when she happened upon fruit in a plastic bag. “They were kind of a fluke, and that first one was a nightmare to do,” confesses Hardy about these particular paintings. “But I got so much attention for it.”
Epiphany realized, Hardy continues to push at the envelopes of her plastic bags—and at the tips of her pencils. “I’m very conscious of value and what is dramatic and what will grab your attention,” says the artist, who may soon venture back into oils. “The colored-pencil work is very complex and very, very hard to do. But I do love it. I really do.” Hardy is represented by Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX, and www.lindahardy.com.
The Rufous Necked Hornbill, gouache, 10 x 7
Whimsical, stark, spare, disarming, sneakily and subversively weighty, Carrie Marill’s works in gouache and acrylic combine the silliness of Dr. Seuss with the sober precision of John James Audubon. Born in San Francisco in 1976 to a dentist father and a phlebotomist mother, Marill and her brother (now a musician) benefited from a rather typically unrestricted Bay Area childhood.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2002 from San Francisco State University, Marill left the familiarity of California for a master’s program and some hoped-for structure at upstate New York’s Cornell University. “I wanted a rigorous critique,” recalls Marill. “Instead, they let us do whatever we wanted. We were left alone a lot, which was actually good. Later on, I appreciated it.” The school also emphasized a more intellectual approach, which Marill eventually warmed to as well. “I was very visceral going in, and very conceptual when I came out,” says Marill, who spends lots of time in libraries and online poring through Google’s Images. “I’ve now melded those two together in my work.”
Now based in Goodyear, AZ, right outside Phoenix, and living with her farmer husband Matthew Moore, Marill has applied her collagist touch to everything from birds and plants to trucks and imaginary buildings. “I like people to get a reaction to the beauty and fragility of life,” says Marill. She is represented by Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX; Sixspace, Culver City, CA; and www.carriemarill.com.
Are They Open, oil, 22 x 26
In the Old Welsh language, “Tew” means “hill.” How apropos. Jono Tew’s oil paintings of northern New Mexico’s San Miguel County, where the 39-year-old artist now lives, depict that landscape’s many hills and valleys. Liquid-y and free-flowing in the vein of Regionalist champions Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, Tew’s newfound style grew out of the land he moved to only three years ago.
Born in Virginia Beach, VA, but raised in Concord, MA, Tew long considered himself a diehard New Englander (despite earning a degree in graphic design from New Orleans’ Tulane University and spending several years in Savannah, GA, and Atlanta). After foregoing a career illustrating DVD and CD covers to paint full-time in 1994, he also tended stylistically toward the abstract, breaking up his canvases into cubist squares.
“Moving out here really clicked for me,” says Tew, who followed his sister and parents to New Mexico in 2005. “I was craving to loosen up the canvas.” Indeed, he switched from acrylic to oil, his colors got brighter, and he connected to the land. “I want to convey the energy of the land as a living, moving thing,” says Tew. “My work’s more about form and line and the movement of the picture. It’s about connecting to something I’m a part of. It’s really brought me into the world I’m in now.” Tew is represented by Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
Daydreams, oil, 30″ x 20″
According to David Yorke, he is not exactly a realist painter but rather an impressionistic realist who tries to be both historically accurate and entertaining in depicting Native Americans of the 1800s. He especially hopes his paintings capture how it was they lived, how they must have felt, and how they expressed themselves. Impossible as that may seem for a New Jersey native like Yorke—a boy who was raised in South Florida on a steady diet of Hollywood westerns—his exquisitely rendered portraits prove otherwise.
“There’s so much in the back of my mind that’s stereotypical and romanticized about Native Americans,” admits the former illustrator, toymaker, and Disney employee whose great-great-grandfather painted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and many of the Vanderbilts. “And I’m trying not to do any of that.”
Faced with a dearth of information about how Native peoples behaved back then, and strapped, too, for Native models of western origin, Yorke relies on his imagination and on frequent trips to the West to events like the Artists’ Ride (where models and actors pose for artists). Ironically, Yorke gained most of his confidence as a painter in his nine years working as a background animator on such Disney fare as Mulan, Tarzan, and Brother Bear. When Disney folded its Orlando-based animation studio in 2004, Yorke decided to devote all his time to his western paintings.
His painting INDEPENDENT AND FREE, a portrait of two Sioux warriors in buffalo-skin hides, exemplifies his style. “The men have proud, dignified expressions,” says Yorke, who even started making his own costumes for his Native models. “I like to portray the expression or feeling or attitude. Like shooting a candid photograph of somebody.” Yorke is represented by The Plainsmen Gallery, Clearwater, FL, and Trailside Galleries, Jackson, WY, and Scottsdale, AZ…
Featured in January 2008
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